Neighbor stabs woman; husband retaliates, kills neighbor

Published: Jun. 20, 2016 at 3:48 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2016 at 7:58 PM CDT
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LAFAYETTE COUNTY, MS (WMC) - Lafayette County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death of two neighbors.

Deputies said the homicides happened early Saturday morning around 12:30.

Chief investigator Alan Wilburn said a white woman, Melissa Smith, and a Hispanic man, Jose Benitez, were both pronounced dead on the scene.

Lafayette County Sheriffs and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are investigating the cause of death for Smith and Benitez.

Smith's family said she lived at the home with her husband, Michael, and Benitez lived next door. Family said the couple and Benitez were fighting over property and Benitez's dog became vicious.

Family members said Benitez banged on the Smiths' door while they slept.

Melissa opened the door and Benitez pushed through.

Then family said Smith grabbed a knife, which was then used against her. She was stabbed multiple times. Police said her husband Michael heard the disturbance, grabbed his high powered rifle, and shot Benitez. He then called 911.

"He's devastated at the fact he lost his wife. He's just as equally devastated that he had to take a life," Michael Smith's brother Billy Smith said.

The case will be presented to the Lafayette County grand jury on August 30.

No arrests have been made at this time.

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